Tribute to Dave McEchron

Today's blog features a tribute to Dr. Dave McEchron, a longtime member of IPA. Part of his public obituary and some of the tributes from psychologists he worked with over the years of his long career also contributed. 

William David McEchron of Bettendorf, Iowa, passed away on March 22, 2021 following a stroke at the age of 77. 

David was born in Wichita, Kansas on September 25, 1943 to William Ernest McEchron Jr. and Bernice Marie Schafer McEchron. He spent his early years in Pratt, Kansas and graduated from Pratt High in 1961. He attended Emporia State University from 1964 to 1971, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1967, Master’s Degree in Psychology in 1969, and Ed.S in School Psychology in 1971. He continued his studies at the University of Iowa, earning a Doctorate in Educational Psychology in 1980. David was married to Linda Haymond in 1963, they later divorced. He then married Rita Watts in 1977 and they remained married until her death in 2012.

David started his career in psychology as a School Psychologist and Project Director for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in 1970. In 1979 he became a founding partner of Psychology Associates where he provided individual, family, and marital psychotherapy. He managed Psychology Associates with his partners for 33 years, then partnered with Genesis Health systems in 2001 where he continued to work as a Director of Mental Health. David entered semi-retirement in 2012, continuing to work with CADs and the Scott County Mental Health and Family Wellness Courts, while spending more time with his family and grandchildren.

2021 is the fifty-year anniversary of my relationship with Dave. I have known him as a student, a colleague, a coworker, a partner and most importantly as a dear friend. We have shared wonderful times with our families with many high points and also some difficult and trying times. Dave was always there, always supportive and displayed qualities that I came to cherish. He was a man of his word, always reliable, dependable and loyal. He was committed to his values and stood tall whenever life tested him.

As a [practice] partner I could not have asked for more. We shared a commitment to improve the quality and availability of mental health services in the community. We shared goals to assist those less fortunate or abused, other community agencies, law enforcement and the criminal justice system. He never lost the vision and he was a tireless worker to achieve these goals.

I have many wonderful memories and I consider it a major blessing to have shared so much with Dave.
Dr. Richard Whittlesey, Past IPA President-1992

Dave was the first real psychologist that I ever met, back when I was a starry-eyed undergrad psychology student in 1974. He was funny, charming and encouraging (and quite handsome!). I went on to grad school, marriage and career; eventually I launched into private practice in Dick and Dave’s office. Again he was supportive and generous with professional guidance. We remained friends after we had both retired—a 45 year connection. I will miss his laugh, his kindness, his cooking, his teasing and his stories. Rest In Peace, friend.
Dr. Deborah VanSpeybroeck 

I met Dave after I moved to Iowa to practice psychology. His work in IPA and federal advocacy involved me in IPA and lead to my acceptance of the federal advocacy role in IPA and eventually leadership in the organization. He was always warm supportive and encouraging.
His gifts to Iowa and our patients included tireless advocacy for mental health parity and broader insurance coverage for mental health. His family should know that his work went well beyond his own patients.
Sam Graham, PhD, Past IPA President 2006 & 2018

Dave McEchron warmly welcomed me to the professional psychology community in Iowa. He offered advice, friendship and took time to help me land a job in Davenport when I was an unlicensed psychologist from Illinois. I will always smile when I remember that his voice mail reminded callers to slow down, not speed up when leaving our names and phone numbers.

Dr. McEchron's contributions to his clients, fellow psychologists and the development of professional psychology in the Quad Cities and Iowa certainly live on. Warmest sympathy to his family. 
Karen Nelson, PhD, Iowa Psychological Foundation President

Doug and I have fond memories of Dave from our School Psychology days through our work together at Psychology Associates. He and Rita were great and we hold their families in our thoughts. 
Lori McCollum PhD & R Douglas McCollum PhD

David was a very generous and caring mentor for me during graduate school. He truly helped me to learn how to be a psychologist, not just the book knowledge but the skills to be an effective clinical psychologist. I truly appreciated his friendship throughout my career. He will be missed.
Doug Whiteside, PhD

I first met Dave while interviewing for a job at Genesis Psychology Associates in late 2001. He welcomed me into the practice and helped facilitate my obtaining licensure in Iowa. I was fortunate to work with Dave until he retired from Genesis and maintained periodic contact with him up until this past year. Dave was generous with his time and knowledge, and highly respected in the professional community. I am saddened to learn of his death and know he will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and ex-clients. Dave was very dedicated to his profession and had a huge zest for life.
Phillip Kent, PsyD


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